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PSP hardware and software sales for Q1 2009

The first quarter of Sony's new fiscal year (Apr-Jun 2008) has proved to be quite successful for the PlayStation brand. The gaming division posted a profit of $51 million, a stark change from PS3 loss-driven quarters in the past. PSP played a significant role in bringing PlayStation to profitability, with increasing hardware and software sales.

During this period, PSP sold 3.72 million units worldwide. This is an increase of 75% over Q1 2008. Software sales went up to 11.8 million units, an increase of 20%. While improving software sales is a good sign, this total still trails significant earnings from both the PS2 and PS3.

PSP has been meeting incredible success all over the world, especially in Japan. With sales the way they are now, there's little reason to believe the trend will change any time soon.

Sony: iPhone not a threat, GPS coming within 9 months

PSP brand manager John Koller has spoken out about the prospects of the PSP for the rest of 2008: he is confident that like the first half of 2008, key titles like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy and God of War: Chains of Olympus, along with multimedia functionality, will set the system apart from its competitors. Koller also believes the key to maintaining strong sales is to add "new features, new functionality." He also confirms the Go!Explore GPS will go on sale in the States in the next nine months and hopes to convey to consumers the PSP is part of a "broader cultural trend for content on the go."

Addressing the new iPhone App Store, which has many games available for download on it, Koller feels that the iPhone "is more of a threat to DS than anything else" because of its nature as a secondary gaming device, hence attracting more casual gamers. We agree -- with an onslaught of specialized exclusives coming up like Resistance: Retribution, Papapon 2 and Dissidia: Final Fantasy, it certainly seems the PSP is poised to have a bright future.

Patent reveals touchscreen handheld device from Phil Harrison

Panajev2001a from the NeoGAF forums has discovered a series of patents that point to a new handheld device from Sony. The patents, filed in January, refer to a "hand-held device with touchscreen and digital tactile pixels." The patent is assigned to Sony Computer Entertainment America, and the inventor is credited to be Phil Harrison, former head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

This patent could describe the next PSP (or PSP Phone). However, it could take years for anything to surface after a patent filing. Some patents (like this one) haven't seen the light of day. With a touch screen and motion sensing capabilities, whatever this new device is will be able to match the functionality of devices like the iPhone. Intriguing. Can't wait to find out more.

[Thanks, Noshino!]

Women and children: targeting a new demographic for PSP

PSP has resonated very well with the adult male crowd. PSP's multi-functional capabilities and impressive graphical capabilities make it the handheld system of choice for many hardcore players. However, Sony is finally trying to expand to more casual markets, in an attempt to start catching up with Nintendo's ever-popular DS system. Last year, new marketing campaigns were targeted at teens. This year, women and children are going to be Sony's focus.

"Our audience continues to get younger and younger," said PSP main-man John Koller. "Our research shows that young mothers now have the highest propensity to purchase a PSP over the next year for their children."

How exactly Sony plans on capturing the attention of women and children is unclear. The next ad campaign Sony is working on is for the God of War Entertainment Pack. While an excellent game, we're doubtful that this M-rated PSP exclusive is what these two new demographics are looking for.

SCE Worldwide Studios gets new president

Ever since Phil Harrison shocked the games industry by leaving Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) for Atari, there has been a crucial void in Sony's management. In the interim months, Kazuo Hirai was the acting President of the Worldwide Studios, but effective today, there will be replacement.

Shuhei Yoshida has become the new president of the SCE Worldwide Studios. He began his career with SCEI in April 1996 as one of initial members in establishing the PlayStation business. Since then, he moved on to Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), where he ultimately became Senior VP of the US Studios.

In a press release from Tokyo, Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO of SCEI commented about the new position. "SCE WWS has been developing global hit titles, sharing resources and know-how within SCE Group since its foundation, and we will reinforce our software business by further enhancing coordination among the studios under a new leader. Under the leadership of Yoshida, who has proven track record in managing creative talent, SCE WWS will accelerate the software development for the PLAYSTATION(R)3 and PSP(R) (PlayStation(R) Portable) platforms and vigorously expand the gaming market."

The PS3 and PSP are both trailing behind competing home and portable platforms. It will take refocused leadership on Sony's part if it wants to reclaim its former glory in the games industry. We wish Yoshida the best of luck in his new role at Sony.

Rumor: LittleBigPlanet in development for PSP

It seems that CVG has been informed by an insider that the upcoming PS3 cute-em-up LittleBigPlanet is also in development for the PSP. Apparently Studio Liverpool, of WipEout fame, are managing the creation of the PSP version. That's all the information that's available, unfortunately -- and we don't have any idea how true it is, at that.

A PSP version of LittleBigPlanet could only be a good thing, in our opinion. Whether it's a shrunken down version of its PS3 cousin or simply a portable version of some of the content creation features, being able to interact with the LBP universe away from your PS3 would be awesome. If it's true. Hopefully we'll hear more about both the PS3 and PSP versions at some point soon. Nothing's been said about the game for a little while and the suspense is killing us.

SCEA is best reviewed publisher of 2007

SCEA has had a rather stellar lineup of games in 2007. On PS3, gamers were treated to titles, such as Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank. On PSP, gamers could enjoy Syphon Filter and Jeanne d'Arc. Even the PS2 got some love, with God of War II and some strong ports of PSP titles. Sure, it's had it's share of stinkers (what publisher doesn't?), but it managed to best the industry with the most critically acclaimed lineup of the year.

Next-Gen's Matt Matthews sorted through GameRankings data in order to gather his findings. What was undoubtedly a tiresome process becomes a fascinating read. Notice the incredible absence of prolific publishers, such as Ubisoft and Midway on this chart? Why? They're pretty far down the list.

Phil Harrison, who is moving from Sony Europe to Atari, will have quite a task at hand. Atari currently stands with a 55.5% average. We wonder if Harrison's Atari will be able to compete against the offerings of Sony and its various Computer Entertainment first-party divisions. We doubt it.

[Via Joystiq]

Phil Harrison leaves Sony Computer Entertainment

In a surprise announcement, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the resignation of Phil Harrison. Effective February 29th, the current President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS) will resign from Sony Computer Entertainment Group. In his place, Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO of SCEI, will immediately assume responsibilities as president of SCE WWS, in addition to his current duties.

"As one of the founding members of SCE, Phil played a key role in the development and growth of the PlayStation business and our industry," said Kazuo Hirai. "It is sad to see him departing from SCE, but I wish to express my gratitude for his many invaluable contributions and also wish Phil the very best of luck in his future endeavors."

"The past 15 years at Sony Computer Entertainment has been the defining journey of my life so far," said Phil Harrison. "I am grateful to all the PlayStation family for their incredible support, guidance and friendship. It has been a privilege to serve as part of the team and be inspired by them on a daily basis. I am so proud of everything PlayStation has achieved and will continue to support its future in every way I can."

Phil Harrison is responsible for a major refocusing of the PlayStation group, through his "Game 3.0" initiative, announced at last year's GDC. He recently lamented that Sony Japan was not outgoing enough about social gaming.

[Via Joystiq]

Sony raises PSP sales forecast

It's been a rough road for Sony. However, things are finally looking good for the Japanese electronics company. Sony's third fiscal quarter had a 25% rise in net income to 200.2 billion yen ($1.9 billion) for the entire company. According to the NY Times, the typically loss-driven games division also generated some profit due to reduced production costs.

In fact, PSP, has been outperforming even the expectations of the company. The original sales goal for the fiscal year 2007 (which ends in March) was 10 million. With such a positive response to the redesign, and a continuous streak of fantastic sales in Japan, the target has been raised 30 percent, to 13 million units.

With an ever-increasing line-up of games in the pipeline, including heavy hitters like God of War and Crisis Core, we're certain that PSP's momentum will carry far into Sony's next fiscal year.

[Thanks, Michael A.! Via Engadget]

Sony called most green games company by Greenpeace

Do you love the earth? How about the PSP and PS3? Good, because your loves are one and the same. Sony is called the most green games manufacturer by environmental group Greenpeace. Sony scored an impressive 7.3 from the organization, making it the third most green company in the list. Compare that to Microsoft at 2.7 and Nintendo at a shocking 0. Sony fans certainly can be proud of their company's efforts to truly go green.

Read the full report here.

[Via Joystiq]

*Update* Scott Steinberg [doesn't] replace Karraker as Sony PR head

Sony contacted us and clarified that Scott Steinberg is not Karraker's replacement, but instead heading up SCEA's hardware, software, and channel marketing division. So that means Karraker's position as "Senior Director of Corporate Communications" is still open -- any takers?

*Original Post*
If you've been a fan of Sega's for a while, you'll have heard the name of Scott Steinberg. He was the former Marketing VP of Sega in its heyday and will now replace Dave Karraker as head of Sony PR. He'll report to Peter Dille and be responsible for all PlayStation hardware, software, and channel marketing as of October 1st. Steinberg, in addition to Sega, has worked for multiple different companies including Roxio/Napster, Liquid Audio, Eidos Interactive and Crystal Dynamics. He worked with Sega during the Genesis days, evaluating development and licensed properties.

Peter Dille released his thoughts on the new hire, saying "We are thrilled to have Scott join our team as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the PlayStation marketing staff and the management group here at SCEA. Scott has an ideal blend of experience in digital entertainment and content delivery as well as a proven track record for strategic innovation and implementation within this industry. He will be a critical component for the success of our marketing efforts across the PlayStation brand moving forward." We'd also like to welcome Scott on board. Welcome, Scott! Do us fanboys proud!

Sony bans homebrew talk from its official forums

After months (nay, years) of homebrew chatter on Sony's very own PlayStation Forums, it appears that Sony is finally cracking down. With the launch of the PSP-2000 at hand, it appears that Sony wants people to become oblivious to the world of homebrew, due to system security and piracy concerns. "Homebrew applications void the warranty of the PSP®(PlayStation®Portable) system, and an official area to discuss such activities cannot be provided by SCEA. Any postings that are clearly homebrew-related, such as those providing instructions on downgrading firmware updates, will be removed from this board ... Any posting found to be in violation of this policy is subject to an immediate deletion. Members who continue to violate this policy may be subject to an immediate ban from this community, or other disciplinary actions as determined by the community Administrators."

It looks as though Sony is serious about wiping out homebrew, at least on its own turf. Boo! We were going to start a homebrew column here on PSP Fanboy. Does that mean we'll get in trouble from Sony?

[Via Games Radar]

Wild Arms XF shows off SRPG action

We've had a strained relationship with the Wild Arms series. We love the western-style in the games and with that, the music and costume designs are generally above par. So you can imagine our dismay at the fourth iteration in the series on the PS2 ... but the gameplay had the most potential (we say potential because it was very, very easy). Essentially, they always get one thing right in each game, but never carry over the good ideas. Enter Wild Arms XF for the PSP -- an SRPG version of the franchise. The above video shows off some of the classes available in the title and their abilities. Honestly, the game looks pretty sweet. We'll keep an eye on it, if you do!

Patent reveals dual-analog controller connectivity for PSP

US Patent Application 0070174531 is of particular interest to PSP fans: it reveals strange plans for connectivity between a DualShock/SIXAXIS controller and Sony's handheld. According to the patent, a "control docking unit" will "facilitate use of one or more controls provided on the control docking unit." Essentially, a controller connected to the PSP will be able to control the system.

The system will use a "wired or wireless communication link," which may suggest at both PS2 and PS3 controllers being compatible with this feature. In addition, "the portable processing unit can be configured to provide additional functions, features, or enhanced operation when coupled to the control docking unit." It looks like players will finally be able to use dual analog controls in-game. (Note: hackers have already been able to do something similar.)

Of course, not all patent applications come to fruition in the marketplace. Regardless, this is certainly an interesting development, one we wouldn't mind seeing Sony pursue.

[Thanks, anon!]

Connect store to close, services to move to PlayStation

As we predicted, Sony is finally abandoning its failed Connect download service to move its digital media ambitions to the PlayStation brand. About 20 employees will be "phased out" as "Connect resources were being shifted to handle the needs of the PlayStation group." Timing on this restructuring seems in-line with the upcoming PSP Store to arrive on the system later this year. Let's hope that Sony's effort with a media-heavy PlayStation Store is far more robust than the sparse offerings provided by Connect.

[Via Engadget]

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